Wolfe Publishing Group

    The Indian Depredation Case Files The Sworn Depositions Part VII

    The Cross Examination and Re-Direct Examination of Andrew Johnson

    Rath and Company (represented by Charles Rath, Robert M. Wright and James Langton), Myers and Leonard, and the Cator Brothers filed suit in the U.S. Court of Claims for the recovery of losses they suffered during and after the battle of Adobe Walls.

    Rath and Company (represented by Charles Rath, Robert M. Wright, and James Langton), Myers and Leonard, and the Cator Brothers filed suit in the U.S. Court of Claims for the recovery of losses they suffered during and after the battle of Adobe Walls. Their sworn depositions contain interesting information regarding the actual battle of Adobe Walls and the immediate events afterward. Other individuals who provided sworn depositions either in support or contradicting previous testimony concerning the events at Adobe Walls were Andrew Johnson, William “Billy” Dixon and W.B. “Bat” Masterson.
    The men were questioned individually and gave formal depositions at various locations and dates. Rath, Wright, Johnson and James Cator had gotten together some days before they were to provide their sworn testimony to discuss the events and refresh their memories. What’s interesting is even though these men had gotten together, to get their stories straight so to speak, there was disagreement about the facts in the sworn depositions they gave.
    This is going to be a fairly long series of articles as some of the depositions were quite long. The information provided about the circumstances surrounding the battle of Adobe Walls, the differences in memory and styles of testimony, along with the general history of the great buffalo hunts, certainly make them interesting reading and worth repeating here. We hope you agree.
    We continue this series with the Cross Examination as well as the Re-Direct Examination of Andrew Johnson:

         UNITED STATES OF AMERICA                                                                                          CHAS. RATH & Co., Complainants
                    State of Kansas                                                    SS                                                                       = V =
                      Sedgwick Co.                                                                                                       The United States & the Cheyenne,
                                                                                                                                                          Kiowa & Comanche Indians



    Q.    Have you any claim of your own against the Government for any depredations?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    Are you still in the employ of either of these parties?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    How long since you have been in the employ of the firm or of either of it?
    A.    I think the fall of 1874.
    Q.    Since the fall of 1874 you have not been in the employ of either member of the firm?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    You have no interest whatever in this claim?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    You state that you went down to Adobe Walls with Mr. Rath?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    At that time had any building been constructed, or were they constructed after you went there?
    A.    After we went there.
    Q.    You may describe the buildings - length, width, or the main building.
    A.    The buildings were built of sod walls, the roof with lumber.
    Q.    About how wide and long was the building?
    A.    From twenty-four to twenty-five feet wide, probably fifty or sixty feet long.
    Q.    There was attached to it and connected with it two small buildings?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    What size were those?
    A.    About twelve by twelve.
    Q.    Those were intended, among other things, as a store?
    A.    Yes.
    Q.    Which way did the buildings face, which way did the door open?
    A.    To the south.
    Q.    How near to the Canadian River?
    A.    Two miles from the Canadian.
    Q.    Were there any other parties there engaged in business at that point?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Who?
    A.    Myers and Leonard.
    Q.    What business were they engaged in?
    A.    Merchandise, buying up hides and so forth.
    Q.    Did they have a building also?
    A.    Yes sir, themselves.
    Q.    When you speak of there being twenty-two men there, do you mean men employed by both these firms?
    A.    Yes sir, by both of them.
    Q.    Was any other business there?
    A.    Yes sir, a blacksmith shop and a saloon.
    Q.    Any other?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    Were any of these buildings in existence when you first went down?
    A.    Myers had commenced their buildings before we could get there.
    Q.    Commenced?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    These buildings were constructed of sod, except the roof?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    No floor in the building?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    How many men did this firm that had you employed employ? After they got into business, how many?
    A.    I think about four or five men employed.
    Q.    What time did you go down?
    A.    When we arrived down there it was about the first of May of 1874.
    Q.    ’74?
    A.    ’74.
    Q.    After the buildings were constructed the parties who went there to assist went away?
    A.    Yes.
    Q.    You state they left about four men there in the employ of the firm?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Who were these men?
    A.    James Langton, George Enby, Myself.
    Q.    Any one else?
    A.    A fellow named Olds.
    Q.     What is his given name?
    A.    William.
    Q.    Do you know where he is now?
    A.    He got killed in the fight.
    Q.    Of the men with this firm, there are but three of you left?
    A.    Yes.
    Q.    Who were there and participated in the fight?
    A.    Yes, well, there is George Enby, I do not know where he is, he may be dead.
    Q.    Did you take any merchandise down with you at the time you went down?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    There were no Indians, that they did not frequent the place at all?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    They did not come there to trade or anything of that kind?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    The first information you had of any Indians about there was on the 11th of June when you learned that some hunters had been killed in that vicinity?   
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    When was it you first observed Indians as you supposed?
    A.    The night before that, before they made the raid upon us. We could not tell whether they were Indians or buffalo.
    Q.    The men there constituting the twenty-two were employed by your firms or other firms?
    A.    Yes sir; there were some five or six were going out hunting that made their headquarters there.
    Q.    On the morning of the 27th of June, the Indians attacked your place of business?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    And commenced firing on you?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    You resisted that attack, the twenty-two men resisted the attack, and the fight continued until about ten, when they drew off for some distance?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    How soon did they return and re-engage you, if they did?
    A.    They was on the hills until the second day, they made an attack - came up to run off some stock.
    Q.    What kind of stock was it they came up to run off?
    A.    Mules and horses.
    Q.    How many mules and horses did Rath & Co. have there at that time?
    A.    Well, I think about three horses - we had three horses. We was working them, we was hauling sod and building a corral.
    Q.    You say three horses?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    What became of the horses?
    A.    Killed - shot; the other two did not belong to us.
    Q.    There was, in fact, but one horse belonging to Rath & Co?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    That was shot during the fight?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Did Rath & Co have any other horses, cattle or mules there?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    Then the only livestock killed belonging to Rath & Co. was one horse?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Where was it when it was killed?
    A.    Tied to the wagon about ten feet from the store.
    Q.    Was any other property destroyed there that day, belonging to Rath & Co?
    A.    Some hides scattered around were destroyed.
    Q.    Some hides you had piled up were thrown down and scattered around?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    By the Indians?
    A.    By the Indians.
    Q.    Did you have any idea what number?
    A.    No, I do not.
    Q.    In what way did that injure the hides?
    A.    It rained and they got wet and it damaged them.
    Q.    How long after that battle before it rained?
    A.    I do not remember.
    Q.    Were you in the habit of keeping the hides in the building?
    A.    No. We kept them stacked up so the wind would blow on them.
    Q.    Did you have them in that condition at the time of the attack?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    The Indians threw down the piles?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    You never tried to restack them again?
    A.    Yes sir, afterward we stacked them up.
    Q.    Are you able to determine or do you know about how many were removed and torn down?
    A.    No I could not state the amounts.
    Q.    The injury resulted from the weather, from their exposure to the air and rain after they had been torn down? Did the Indians take away the covering that was over them?
    A.    It was torn down.
    Q.    Was there any other property there, belonging to Rath & Co, injured during the fight?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    The stock in the store was not injured from the fight, at all?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    They never succeeded in getting into the store?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    Never succeeded in carrying away anything belonging to Rath & Co, so far as you know?
    A.    Nothing.
    Q.    The only injury Rath & Co suffered on that occasion was the killing of this one horse and the injury whatever it might have been, to the hides?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    What amount that was you are unable to say?
    A.    No, I could not tell.
    Q.    You remained there I understand, a month or there-abouts.
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    The Indians, after the second day, never bothered you any more?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    Were they committing depredations around there?
    A.    Yes, between Adobe Walls and Dodge City, some teams fetching supplies down to Adobe Walls.
    Q.    Who were those men whom you had there to guard the store, the new men you employed there regularly?
    A.    I could not tell you their names.
    Q.    These men who came into Adobe Walls, did not they come as much for their protection as anything else?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Did they not come in there for their own safety as much as anything?
    A.    Yes sir, but they were going away in a body, and we hired and kept them there until the train arrived to take the goods. It became necessary for us to hire them.
    Q.    Did this firm bear the entire expense or was it divided among the firms?
    A.    It was divided. I expect two hundred came. In our place - there was from twenty-five to seventy-five men.
    Q.    These men stood guard regularly day and night? You had a guard day and night?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    They were fed and supplied by Rath & Co - that is, their portion of them?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    You are unable to state the exact number they had in their employ?
    A.    I cannot state the number.
    Q.    As I understand you, the second or third day some came in, and during the next two weeks kept coming in and increasing in that way?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    When the wagon train arrived, you proceeded to load in the goods?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Did you select the most valuable, the goods with the most money in?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    How many wagons in the train?
    A.    One train I think had about nine or ten teams, I think two wagons for each team.
    Q.    Did they have more than one train?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Were these fifty or sixty men near enough together to keep guard over both trains?
    A.    Well, they come down together.
    Q.    About how many wagons all told did they bring down, the two trains?
    A.    I cannot just tell the number, I can tell the number that went back.
    Q.    How many went back?
    A.    Some forty or fifty wagons, all told.
    Q.    I am speaking now about the wagons employed by Rath & Co. for their goods. About how many wagons did they load for Rath & Co.?
    A.    I think we must have had almost thirty wagons, or more.
    Q.    Did those thirty or forty wagons, all of them, going out was all of them guarded by these same fifty or sixty men?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    In addition to the teams you loaded that Rath & Co. send down under guard, I understood that you loaded some hunter’s teams, did you?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    And after you had loaded all the wagons you had, you still had goods left on the ground?
    A.    Yes sir?
    Q.    How much corn was left?
    A.    I do not know exactly, there probably was thirty or forty pound of grain.
    Q.    Was it left exposed?
    A.    No sir, left in the store.
    Q.    You left flour there?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Can you state how much?
    A.    I could not state.
    Q.    You left bacon there?
    A.    Yes.
    Q.    How much?
    A.    I cannot state.
    Q.    Do you have any idea? Can you approximate it?
    A.    I do not know, I do not remember; probably one or two thousand pounds of bacon.
    Q.    Any hides left?
    A.    Yes.
    Q.    Can you form any idea as to how many hides were left?
    A.    I could not state exactly how many.
    Q.    Have you a general idea, so you can give within the range?
    A.    As near as I can tell, probably a couple of thousand hides was left.
    Q.    In selecting hides, you left - did you select the ones of least value to leave?
    A.    Yes we left mostly the heaviest hides.
    Q.    Was there any other property you think of that was left there?
    A.    Yes sir, I think some groceries were left there - sugar, coffee, and canned goods.
    Q.    What was the object in leaving coffee, sugar, and so forth?
        Because you could not haul it?
    A.    I think some few men stopped down there.
    Q.    You left it for supplies?
    A.    They was run out by the Indians. I do not know personally what occurred after I left there.
    Q.    You did not see it?
    A.    Of course I did not see it, I heard it.
    Q.    You have no personal knowledge of what transpired after that?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    The supplies were left for the men who was to stay, and for the accommodation of hunters who might come in, or the hope that you would return to the place after a while, after the disturbance was over?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    State what became of the goods left in the building, if you have any personal knowledge at all.
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    You do not know who took out the goods, nor anything of that kind?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    You say it was the Comanches, the Kiowas and the Cheyennes that made the raid upon your place. How do you know what tribes or band of Indians they belonged to?
    A.    We could tell by the Indians left there, by the trinkets, their dress. We could tell by the way they wear fixtures, shields and war bonnets.
    Q.    Were you sufficiently acquainted with their mode and manner of dress of these various bands of Indians so that you could identify the Indian belonging to a particular tribe by his dress and so forth?
    A.    No sir, I do not think I could.
    Q.    How did you arrive at your conclusion that these Indians belonged to these particular bands?
    A.    They was reports from other Indians.
    Q.    You say the Arapahoes did not go into the fight?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    How could you tell that?
    A.    I could not tell except by reports from Indians.
    Q.    That is, simply what the Indians reported?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    I wish you would describe the manner of dress and ornaments worn by these Indians that made the attack. If of different classes, state that. How each band is distinguished from another - by war bonnets, by dress, or any other devise.
    A.    Well, the attack we had that morning you would think they all looked alike!
    Q.    The only ones you could tell anything about were the ones killed?
    A.    Yes, and got their shields and trinkets.
    Q.    You say there were fourteen killed outright?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    You had a chance to examine those with reference to the manner of dress, paint, shields, and all those things?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    I wish you would describe as near as you can the different manner of dress, the difference in their manner of dress, of those you found. If they part belonged to different tribes, give the description of their dress or any other indication that they belonged to separate tribes.
    A.    I do not think I could describe. We got their fixtures after they were killed. They were reported coming in armies when we went out and took their shields and war bonnets.
    Q.    Was there anything in their features or general appearance that indicated that they belonged to different tribes?
    A.    I am not well enough acquainted with the Indians to tell.
    Q.    You yourself, from your limited knowledge of the Indians, could not say personally what tribes these Indians belonged to?
    A.    No sir.
    Q.    Had you been keeping guards prior to the time of this attack?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Did you keep guards out the night prior to that time?
    A.    No sir, not after we got the buildings up. When we was camping out and sleeping in the tent we kept a guard out.

    Q.    Did you know Bill Dixon?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Was he part Indian?
    A.    Yes sir, half-breed.
    Q.    Was he present during this fight?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Were these three who were there acquainted with the habits of the Indians and knew the different tribes?
    A.    No, I think Bill Dixon was the best posted of any one else.
    Q.    During the fight was the different Indians pointed out and their tribes mentioned?
        (Counsel for Government objects as being incompetent, irrelevant and immaterial, and hearsay evidence.)
    A.    Bill Dixon he described and pointed them out. After the fight, after they was dead.
    Q.    Well, after the fight what did he do? Did he point out any Cheyennes?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    Did he point out any Kiowas? Or Cheyennes?
    A.    Yes sir, I think he did.
    Q.    Were some of the members of all there, all those tribes killed there?
    A.    I think so, yes.
    Q.    At the time you loaded the teams down there you left a lot of buffalo hides. I will ask you if that was not done on account of insufficient transportation, and the hides damaged?
    A.    Yes sir, we did not have enough transportation to get the goods away and some of them were damaged.
    Q.    When you were packing those hides and fixing to send them, were they put in bales or hauled loose?
    A.    I think loose, part of them anyhow.
    Q.    You state there were two thousand hides left there?
    A.    Well I [rest unreadable]
    A.    I stated between one and two thousand.
    Q.    What were your means of knowledge of the number of hides?
    A.    I tallied the hides when they were loaded on the wagons.
    Q.    Your estimate of the number left is formed from knowledge of the number they had?
    A.    Yes sir.
    Q.    What kind of hides were these?
    A.    Buffalo bull hides.
    Q.    What was the value of one of those hides?
    A.    I think from a dollar to a dollar and a half for cow hides. I think we paid two fifteen for bull hides.
    Q.    Was that a fair value for them, a fair price?
    A.    Yes, in that country.

    Andrew Johnson
    In 1875, Johnson opened a blacksmith shop and operated it for many years before he retired. He also operated a restaurant and managed a retail liquor store. One of his blacksmith shops stood at the location of the old Standard service station at the corner of Second and Trail Streets in Dodge City.
    Later, Johnson bossed a concrete crew, which was responsible for pouring numerous sidewalks and replacing the old wooden sidewalks. The letter A.J. was stamped in the concrete, a silent testimony to the quality of his work.
    Johnson returned to Adobe Walls twice, once in 1922, and again in 1924. During the 1924 visit, he was a featured guest at the 50th-anniversary celebration of the fight.
    Johnson would have to speak before 2,000 people and the thought terrified him. Journalist Heinie Schmidt helped Johnson to prepare his speech and recalled:
    “We used a large box of matches keeping Andy’s pipe going and the lamp lighted.”
    The following morning, Johnson, (Brick) Bond and Tom Staugh set off for Texas to attend the celebration. Johnson was dressed as never before. His friends had provided him with a brand-new outfit, suit, shoes, white shirt (the only one he ever wore), bow tie and a big black hat. He was so nervous that he could not read his speech, he handed it to Gene Howe, editor of the Amarillo Globe news, with the request that Howe read it for him. Johnson was the star of the celebration and quite possibly it was he who was remembered the most by the men and women who attended the festivities.
    Prior to the dedication of the monuments, Johnson was asked three questions by Judge Turner:

    "Andy" Johnson and "Bill" Tilghman - 50th anniversary dedication at Adobe Walls
    "Andy" Johnson and "Bill" Tilghman - 50th anniversary dedication at Adobe Walls

    “Adobe Walls", June 27, 1924
    Questions proposed by Judge Turner:
    Q.    You have read the names of the men and one woman as they are engraved on the monument. Are they correct?
    A.    Yes.
    Q.    Was anyone in this fight whose name was left off the monument?
    A.    No.
    Q.    Emmanuel Dubbs in the fight?
    A.    No, I think he was in Dodge City at that time. The fight lasted three days. (In answer to question of Mr. Griggs)”

    Johnson passed away a year later, on a Friday in June, 1925, and was buried in the Maple Grove cemetery in Dodge City.

    1. Johnson, “Andy,” THE BATTLE OF ADOBE WALLS”
    2. Johnson, Andrew, “ANDY JOHNSON’S ACCOUNT OF THE ADOBE WALLS FIGHT,” Edited by Lonnie J. White, Memphis State University.
    3. Baker, T. Lindsay and Billy R. Harrison, “ADOBE WALLS, THE HISTORY AND ARCHEOLOGY OF THE 1874 TRADING POST,” Texas: Texas A&M University Press, College Station, 1986: 13, 24, 55-56, 62, 65, 70-72, 75, 79-80, 84, 89-90, 96, 98-101, 105, 111, 140-41, 201,321
    4. Rath, Ida Ellen, “THE RATH TRAIL,” Kansas: McCormick-Armstrong Co., Inc, Wichita, 1961:61, 64, 70-72, 78, 79, 97, 98, 102-106, 111, 112, 116, 118, 122-126
    5. Rath, Ida Ellen, “EARLY FORD COUNTY,” Kansas: Mennonite Press, North Newton: 47, 55, 58, 60, 80-89, 103, 158, 222.
    6. U.S. Court of Claims, Indian Depredation Case Files. Case 4593, Charles Rath and Company Claimants. Record Group 123, National Archives and Records Service, Washington, D.C.

    Wolfe Publishing Group